Day 5 (Day of Departure ): Friday, October 12, 2001 How sad, our last day at the Grand Californian! The next time we stay there I'd like to stay on the concierge floor. We were tempted to walk up there, but there were signs on the stairway from the 5th to 6th floor (concierge is on the 6th floor) saying "concierge guests only." On our last day we had a reservation for the breakfast with Chip, Dale, and Pluto at Storyteller's Cafe. We had vouchers with our package which included either the full breakfast buffet or an entree off the menu, a beverage, and tax and gratuity. We gave the vouchers to our server who closed out the check immediately since the costs were all taken care of. We received excellent service here. Chip, Dale, and Pluto were in the entryway greeting the kids (I think we were the only childless adults in the place, but it was fun anyway). Dale was especially "playful," making rounds around the restaurant after greeting those in the entry. He came by us and made a funny face. This seemed like a great place for kids, they round them up and go around the restaurant with the characters. I really enjoyed the food here. I think the buffet is normally $18.95. There was eggs benedict, some Mexican-type thing on an English muffin (I wanted to try it, but was too full!), scrambled eggs, potatoes w/ onions, bacon, sausage, an omelet station (looked really good-again, didn't have room in my tummy), fruits, muffins and breads, ad some desserts including a really good chocolate cake which I made room for! We had orange juice which was refilled. We were also offered coffee. We took some pictures in one of the courtyards, as well as the Great Hall, hopefully one of them will be our Christmas picture! We then headed back to World of Disney to buy the things we had put on our list the night before, along with some extra items! There were these really cute Mickey-shaped soaps for $1.00, which I plan to put in little Christmas gift baskets. Checkout at the hotel is 11 a.m. We called the front desk to check out at around 10:30 and kept our keys as souvenirs (they allow you to do that). We then called bell services, and Aaron went to get the car. They were at the room in about 5 minutes. He was very friendly and helpful (Donald). We then drove to Knott's for shopping only in the Marketplace (note: there is free 2 hour parking in the Marketplace area if you are shopping only). After that, we headed back to Vegas, stopping in Barstow for shopping. Overall thoughts on the Disney portion of our trip: 1. The Grand Californian is GORGEOUS and great in every way. Any complaint I might have is totally miniscule in the grand scheme of our stay. One nice surprise was that we received turn-down service every night. The attention to detail when they created this hotel is absolutely amazing. If you stay here, sign up for the tour. 2. The package was worth it, and Dreams Unlimited Travel was excellent. I plan to go with DU for all future Disney trips! I forgot to mention that the package also included a coupon booklet. We used a few of them, like a free popcorn with purchase of one. There were few that were meant for families (i.e. free child admission with adult, etc.). It was really nice to have everything paid for (30 days ahead). All we had to take care of was meals and souvenirs. 3. We ate a LOT, and I was extremely impressed with the quality of the food everywhere we ate (with the possible exception of ESPN, which wasn't "bad," just not as good). Highly recommend Storyteller's Cafe, Y Arriba Y Arriba, Whitewater Snacks, and Naples. 4. For those of you who might be worried about security, don't give it a second thought. I was really amazed at the presence of both Disney security and Anaheim police. They seemed to be everywhere. Also, most of you probably already know this, but all the rides and attractions have TONS of security cameras, it's just that they're not obvious. 5. I was really amazed at the amount of people there. It wasn't crowded like a summer day, but considering the recent events, I thought it was pretty busy. Waits were not long though, usually no more than 10 minutes, except for Indy and Soaring which were, at times, longer. GC seemed very crowded, and there was a convention being held there. 6. Airport check-in wasn't that bad, but we did use a small Hawaii-based airline. We flew out of Honolulu and into McCarran in Las Vegas. Leaving Honolulu, we got there about 2 hr. 45 min. in advance. Checking in took about 15-20 minutes, and only because there was only one guy checking people in. It took about 10-15 minutes to go through the security checkpoint. They did NOT look through our carryon's there, but they did in the terminal, but it was for an agriculture check, not security. Leaving Vegas, we got there 2 hours ahead (our flight left at 5:35 a.m.), and the agents didn't arrive until 1 hr. 15 min. before the flight was scheduled to leave, making our flight late by 30 minutes. Again, they did not look through our bags. The main thing is to have your I.D. ready to show at any time, and arrive early (2-3 hours ahead), even if it means you'll have to wait after check-in. Had we not arrived early, we may have cut it pretty close to our departure time. I'm sure I am forgetting many things, there were so many things about this hotel that I could discuss! It was a terrific trip, with many great moments. Feel free to ask questions!